Travel Tuesdays – unexpected journeys

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Tomorrow I am flying to Japan. That is totally insane. I am traveling to Japan as a representative of the 9/11 Tribute Center. That is also beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I have the opportunity to travel to Japan as part of the 2nd International Outreach Program for School Children and Community Survivors of 3/11 Great East Japan Disasters. I am humbled, excited and amazed. Thank you Tribute Center for allowing me to represent you. Thank you to American Airlines for donating the flights. Thank you to the Japan Society and the Rotary Club for your part in this venture.

This past week Bruce would have celebrated his 60th birthday. I have a feeling he is looking down and saying “that’s my girl. Keep up the good work.” He was my biggest supporter. Years ago for some totally bizarre, bratty reason I said to him “You know, you really need to get a ministry.” And without blinking an eye he responded “I have a ministry. My ministry is you.” And in that moment I realized that I was able to do all the things I did because of his love and support. Thank you Bruce for the life we shared and thank you for the life your sacrifice has given me. Love you!!!

FYI: I will post additional England adventures and photos when I get home from Japan. I hope to post about Japan as it unfolds.

a 1000 years

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1000 years what have you seen, who has walked through your doors – rich, poor, male, female, child, adult, believer or not? Have they come to find peace, comfort, out of curiosity, for photo ops, or for history lessons? Have they stopped to pray, to reflect, to wonder or not? Do they ponder the past, the present or the future? Do they know life has happened here? Oh, if your walls could talk? What would they say? Would your stories remind us that all through time people have laughed and cried here? Been baptized and buried. Would your past reveal that times change but people don’t? Would your walls tell of young and old sleeping instead of listening? Or marveling and understanding?Would the worries of their days block the power of the message? Has the truth been taught? Has the one you were built to honor been glorified in your midst? I think He has. Those who built you knew they may not live to see the building finished but they built you anyway. Oh, what a lesson is taught by the fact you still stand and His word still is spoken.

Travel Thursdays – S1E15- Edinburgh, Scotland

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Started this post very late on Tuesday and was too tired to finish. Then no internet on Wednesday thus Travel Thursday 🙂

I am just finishing up a delightful six days in Edinburgh, Scotland. My girls and their guys joined me for family vacation 2013. We did a lot of walking, wandering, and exploring. We visited a few of the “must sees”. We didn’t see it all but we saw and experienced wonderful places while spending time together. Doesn’t get better than that.

We rented an apartment on the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is the road that runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. There are many historical sites, shops, restaurants, and street performers. On our first full day here we walked from our apartment to Holyrood Palace. The royal standard was flying meaning the Queen was in residence. We didn’t see her but it was fun to think we could have. From Holyrood Palace we walked over to Arthur’s Seat and climbed the “hill”. Wow!! What a beautiful view of the city. Wow! I am out of shape!?! We made it up the mountain but to the top was much further than any of others wanted to go so we descended the other side and headed in the direction of Sheep Heid Inn, the oldest pub in Edinburgh. There was a little wandering but the walk even though long was very scenic and we did eventually make our way to the Inn. Besides being the oldest pub in Edinburgh it was recently featured on the Amazing Race. The food was delicious and the journey back to our apartment was not as long as feared.

Our second day was more walking and included New Town. New Town is on the other side of Princes Street Gardens and down hill from the castle mound. When Old Town was becoming too overcrowded the wealthy moved to the lower land and built impressive sandstone homes. That was between 1765 – 1850. New is a relative term. The Royal Botanical Gardens were a short walk from New Town. Short is a relative term as well. The Royal Botanical Gardens were lovely and offered shady areas to pause before exploring more paths, ponds and patches of flowers.

I assumed the third day would be more sitting than walking but actually it was a perfect balance of sitting and walking. We took a bus tour of the Highland Lochs, Glens and a Whiskey Distillery. Our bus driver and tour guide was named Sarah. She offered excellent information and was a good storyteller. The tour was only 16 people. It really had a wonderful balance of time spent on the bus and time spent exploring the sights. An interesting little occurrence, we drove through Dunblane within moments of Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. Dunblane was where Andy Murray attended primary and high school. Our Scottish tour guide was very excited about his win.

Our fourth day included the Royal Yacht Britannia. We took public transportation to the Ocean Terminal and then followed the signs to the second floor. After wandering for a moment, I remembered that the in the UK the first floor is the ground floor so we still needed to go up one more flight. Oh, the little things can confuse you when traveling. Later in the day was more walking to explore the side streets off the Royal Mile.

Tuesday was visit the Castle with my second cousin (or is it first cousin once removed). Amazing views from castle mound. A piece of historical trivia for you, Edinburgh Castle looks like the perfect castle- built up high so you can see your enemies coming. There was only one problem. They couldn’t dig a well deep enough to get enough water so if they were under siege they had to surrender or die of thirst. I also ventured with my cousin and her hubby to Rosslyn Abby. Very interesting. The tour guide was excellent. She presented the information and allowed you to draw your own conclusions. Rosslyn Abby has many stories/legends regarding templar knights, freemasons and Dan Brown books. Before the Da Vinci Code was written they had maybe 30,000 visitors a year. Since they have at least a 1,000 a day.

We (not necessarily me) enjoyed local delicacies. Kyle and Scott both had Haggis. Of course fish and chips was consumed. In 2013, it isn’t served in newspaper. Emily and I had scones and clotted cream. Ice cream cones with a flake were eaten more than once. Pots of tea for the ladies and a little whiskey for the men. And British chocolate – yummy!

Wednesday meant the end of family vacation. I am so grateful to have been able to spend a week with my girls and their guys. I was blest to explore new places and revisit sights with new eyes. Farewell, Scotland. I hope to be back. Now onto Oxford my birthplace.

Travel Tuesdays – S1 E14 – Edinburgh – QOTD

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“Mom, you aren’t one of those people are you???” Said with a look of horror as I pulled my iPad mini out to take a photo. In my defense, my phone had no more storage and I wanted to post to FB.

“When you have kids, you can tell them “Grandma, already climbed Arthur’s Seat. She is going to wait at the bottom and buy us ice cream when we are done.” To which Emily replied “I am going to tell them mom and dad are already climbed, you go ahead.” And later in the day, Meghan asked “Mom, when do we get ice cream.”

Me while crossing street “I get so confused with one way streets, driving on the other side. I am just not sure which direction I am going to hit from.”

Meghan starts doing movement like she is playing a violin. I ask “what are you doing?”. Meghan “I am playing the music.” Confused look by all and then laughter to the point of crying. Note: through our window you could hear bagpipes.

Duh moment – thinking Marks and Spencer’s had closed and then realizing it had been rebranded as M&S. Blame jet lag. More Edinburgh stories and tips to follow.